15 September 2015
James Coughlan is a senior musculoskeletal physiotherapist at the Royal Free London. Here he answers our questions about his work in the NHS.
What training/qualifications have you done to get to where you are now?
I completed a BSc Hons undergraduate degree in physiotherapy and an MSc in manual therapy at the University of Nottingham.
Why do you do what you do?
I care deeply about my patients, and I love working with them to help them get better. I have wanted to be a physiotherapist since I was 16 years old.
What is the best thing about your role?
Helping people. As an MSK physio I am in a unique position to help people regain their quality of life. I feel very privileged to be in a job where someone can come in on crutches hardly able to walk and go out walking normally with a big smile on their face. Every patient is different so even when treating patients for the same condition, the treatment plans will be different. Treatment is not only to rehabilitate the joints, muscles and nerves but also the person themselves and the demands they put on their bodies.
Why do you like working at the Royal Free London?
It’s a fantastic place, full of great people! I have learned so much here and it's made me become a better clinician from it.
What would you say to someone considering a career in the NHS?
It’s a challenging, but fantastic place to work to get experience. The best clinicians I know have all worked in the NHS in their careers. You won't get a better chance to meet such a wonderful variety of patients, and work with such excellent staff.
What did you want to be when you were little?
Captain of Manchester City.
Any other interesting/fun facts about your career you would like to share?
I was originally offered a scholarship to do music at university instead of physiotherapy. I know I made the right choice